UN agencies on Tuesday started the second phase of their disaster risk reduction programme for local people in Cox's Bazar.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the UN High Commissioner for Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have been working with the government, with a view to improving the capacity of the local people to confront recurrent disasters.
Cox's Bazar is one of the most disaster-prone districts in the country. The second phase will renovate cyclone shelters, strengthen local capacity, preparedness, resilience and social cohesion.
In the first phase of the programme, more than 60 cyclone centres were renovated in Ukhiya and Teknaf regions from 2018 to 2019.
Manuel Pereira, the IOM deputy chief of mission in Bangladesh, said the IOM will jointly work with the government, UN agencies and other partners to contribute to reducing disaster risk in the local community.
"Our commitment to Bangladesh is to ensure infrastructure developments and enhance capacity of local people so that they can take the lead in disaster preparedness and lifesaving activities," he added.
Peter Guest, the emergency coordinator for the WFP in Cox's Bazar, said their main task is to safeguard the local people every year during two cyclone seasons by repairing cyclone shelters. And it is just a part of their disaster risk reduction activities in the coastal district.
"Mitigating the impact of disasters to maintain food security and ensuring vital access points remain open for people are very important," he said.
Bangladesh is facing an increasing number of weather-related disasters due to climate change. So, it is more important to ensure that the local communities are empowered and resilient to face disasters, Guest added.
A two-day Disaster Risk Reduction workshop started after the launch of the programme. The workshop aims to create links among local, national and international disaster reduction organisations.
The UNHCR and its partners are working relentlessly to improve their preparedness capacity for natural disasters, said Marin Din Kajdomcaj, the head of operations for UNHCR in Cox's Bazar.
The ongoing joint projects have massively reduced the risk of floods, landslides and the loss of life. More work remains to be done through the exchange of knowledge and best practices, improvement of coordination and simulation exercises, Kajdomcaj said.